Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Have mercy on us according to your steadfast love. We confess that we have forgotten your compassion and grace, how You bore us on eagles’ wings and brought us to Yourself; and we have forgotten your glory and holiness, and have not trembled before you in reverential wonder.
Forgive us all our sins, we pray, through the finished work of Jesus Christ our Savior.
By your Holy Spirit, please purify us and shine the light of Your gospel in our hearts, that we may live and serve You in the joy of resurrection life. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Over the next few months our sermon series will explore who God is and what it means for us as His Creation to know Him. Each day this devo will tread along a variety of paths connected to the week’s theme in Knowing God. Consider this your invitation to come along for the ride as we head into the wilds of coming to know and experience God’s person and grace.
Read: Exodus 3:1-22
Exodus 3 tells the tale of Moses’ encounter with God via a burning, but not incinerated, bush. If we set aside for a moment our modern sensibilities about the flame retardancy of organic shrubbery, we will see something truly spectacular that God is revealing about himself to Moses and to us.
We might begin by noting that God can do whatever he wants with the shrubs he spoke into existence. Moses at the very least cannot pass up the opportunity to “see this great sight,” and we shouldn’t either, because as we walk alongside Moses to investigate this phenomenon, we discover more about God than perhaps we’ve ever known before.
Next, we note that God tells Moses “I know” the affliction that my people are experiencing under Pharaoh’s whip, and “I have come down to deliver them.” We should note at least two things as we hear this story:
(1) If God knows something to be true, then it’s true.Imagine with me for a moment Pharaoh’s response when he’s told that this Hebrew God knows how the Egyptians have been treating God’s people? Slightly incredulous? Who is this “God” to accuse the divinely gifted and powerful Pharaoh of mistreating slaves? You can sort of understand why Moses says, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” You don’t question the king of the world…that is, unless the King of the universe speaks to you out of a burning bush.
Notice God doesn’t argue with Moses. He simply assumes the right to tell Pharaoh off. What’s going on here? It’s a confrontation of truths. Who is telling the truth?Who has the right to command Israel? Pharaoh or this God who covenanted with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 2:24)? We’re about to find out!
(2) If God says that he will do something, then he will.He only speaks the truth, does not lie, and never changes his mind (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29). When God says, “I have come down to deliver…” our response, if we’ve been following along with the Story of Scripture, can only be: “Oh boy, this is about to get interesting!” And it does!
But that’s not where our focus lies today, because what God reveals about himself to Moses next is bigger than the redemption from physical slavery that is about to unfold.
God tells Moses his name. Did that unveiling fall a bit flat? It wouldn’t if you were from the ancient near eastern world. God tells Moses that he is Yahweh which in Hebrew means: I am who I am. He will remain who he is. Will Pharaoh? No! Pharaoh is like any man. He changes his mind (spoiler alert: he’s about to do that a whole bunch), and one day Pharaoh will die and turn to dust. But Yahweh? Yahweh will be who he is. More importantly for Moses, Israel, and us: Yahweh says, “I will be with you is what I will be.”
And he would! God goes with his people every step of the way from the flight out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness on the way to the promised land. God never abandons his people, and one day, he would again come down to deliver his people from an enemy far greater than Pharaoh. He would be with us to hell and back again all so that he could lead us into that true and better Promised Land (Hebrews 11:16). He has done it, and he can tell no lie. It is finished (John 19:30).
Reflect: God wrote word of his faithfulness in his very name: “I am who I am. I will be with you is what I will be.” Think back on the last week. When did you notice that God was with you? When did you lose sight of his presence?
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. (Psalm 119:54-55)